Athletics coaches set to discuss safe driving with teens

Governor of New York, Andrew M. Cuomo, has announced the launch of Coaches Care, a new initiative aimed at educating teens about safe driving by encouraging coaches to openly discuss the issue with student athletes.

The program’s kick-off coincided with National Teen Driver Safety Week, a nationwide effort to raise awareness about keeping young adults safe on the roads, which runs from October 18-24.

“Coaches can have a significant and lasting impact on young adults, so we’re enlisting their help to encourage teenagers to always drive responsibly,” Governor Cuomo said. “Proper driving habits can make all the difference when it comes to preventing unnecessary tragedies. I encourage all schools and coaches to join us in this effort to keep everyone safe on the roads.”

Coaches Care is the result of a partnership between the Governor’s Traffic Safety Committee (GTSC) and schools state wide. The campaign builds upon the Committee’s No Empty Chair campaign, launched in 2014, and the No Empty Chair Cops Care initiative introduced in April 2015, which provide police and school resource officers tools to help them educate teens about safe driving during prom and graduation season.

As part of the campaign, informational posters will be displayed in locker rooms, classrooms, and high-traffic areas in schools.

Talking points are provided on the GTSC website for coaches to help teens understand the dangers they face on the road. Information about the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration’s “5 to Drive” list will be made available in these talking points. This list contains five necessary rules for addressing the greatest dangers for teen drivers: alcohol, texting, seat belts, speeding, and extra passengers.

Additionally, coaches are encouraged in the talking points to remind young drivers about the Graduated Driver Licensing (GDL) law, designed to provide time for young people to gain critical experience in various traffic scenarios in a safe and controlled manner.

New York State Department of Motor Vehicles Executive Deputy Commissioner Terri Egan said: “There are tens of millions of young people involved in organized sports across the nation, making coaches incredible allies in helping to instill positive behaviors and driving habits in our youngest motorists. Keeping New Yorkers safe on the road is our top priority, and many of the dangerous situations teens may encounter on the road can be prevented. I encourage all adults to talk with the teen drivers they love about obeying the rules of the road and developing good strategies to combat dangerous driving.”